The wind energy industry is rapidly evolving across North America with new opportunities, learnings, and best practices emerging regularly. For development companies like EDF Renewables, best practices emerge in many forms, with core values and governance principles chief among them.
We spoke with Cory Basil, Vice President of Development at EDF Renewables and moderator of The Solid Fundamentals keynote luncheon, for insights into future wind energy opportunities and his take on the principles that guide successful wind development projects.
*This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
What are the most significant opportunities for wind energy in the short-term?
Cory Basil: Western markets, led predominantly by Alberta’s Climate Leadership Plan, have the most aggressive policies and programs for renewable energy and certainly for wind power. Alberta aims to add 5,000 megawatts of renewable power to the electricity grid by 2030. Alberta is followed by Saskatchewan with its Prairie Resilience Plan, which aims to have 50 per cent renewable energies on the electricity grid by 2030.
Where should the industry be looking in the long-term?
Cory Basil: We are starting to see new opportunities open up in different markets across Canada. These may create opportunities for the corporate purchasing of wind or renewable power, which is a nascent market today.
EDF Renewables has a reputation for working closely with its wind project communities. Can you share your thoughts on the importance of community engagement and how EDF puts this into practice?
Cory Basil: Over half of our projects in Canada have been developed with some level of community and/or Indigenous involvement. We follow core principles to build trust between ourselves and the communities we develop in. Without a strong relationship with the host community, even the strongest project will have a challenging time and may fail.
We build trust by putting three things in place: transparency, communication, and a win-win philosophy with the host community. We consider ourselves guests in these communities and our measure of success is to make sure we are invited back the next time.
This approach has contributed to our success in Canada. Today we are generating enough power to supply over 400,000 homes with renewable energy.
One of your projects, Nicolas-Riou, has been nominated for the Wind Energy Project of the Year Award by the Canadian Wind Energy Association. What has made this project so successful?
Cory Basil: This is one of the largest community-owned projects of its kind in Canada, consisting of approximately 225 megawatts and over $500 million in investment. This brought the maximum benefit to the community.
This project is a great example of harmony between a developer and host communities. In this case, the host communities expressed leadership and an interest in renewable power within their boundaries and selected a private sector partner to achieve their vision. Both sides recognized the value of such a project.
It was also an inclusive process. The governance of this project was managed to ensure openness and transparency throughout the entire experience. That contributed to an overall very successful project for both parties. It is something we are very proud of.
What are you most looking forward to at the CanWEA Annual Conference and Exhibition?
Cory Basil: The conference is a great place to network and discuss real issues facing our industry – such as market evolution, emerging revenue streams, operation and maintenance and the integration of new technologies. I am looking forward to interesting discussions on how wind energy has become Canada’s lowest cost renewable energy option. It is the best opportunity for renewable energy executives to connect in one of Canada’s most exciting markets for renewable power, Alberta.
You can find Cory onstage moderating the lunchtime keynote, ‘The Solid Fundamentals’ on October 25, 12:00-1:30 pm.
Cory joined the EDF Renewables team in 2010. In his role as Vice President of Development, Cory leads the company’s business development efforts and development team for Canada and the northeast United States. He is responsible for assembling a portfolio of renewable energy projects across the region that today exceeds 1600 MW of wind and solar farms commissioned or under construction including the 300 MW Blackspring Ridge wind farm, Alberta’s largest wind project.
Over the last 15 years, Cory has built his career in the Canadian renewable energy industry with experience in business development, permitting, marketing, finance, procurement, construction, and project management. Prior to his current role, Cory led a team that developed a national portfolio of renewable energy projects as Vice President of Project Development. Cory’s accomplishments include the development of Canada’s most easterly wind farm in Fermeuse, Newfoundland. Cory is the Chair of the board of the Canadian Wind Energy Association.
Looking for more wind energy insights?
The Annual Canadian Wind Energy Conference & Exhibition is the meeting point for all members of the wind energy industry – top business executives, technical experts, decision and policy makers, and government representatives – to come together and address the key issues facing the industry today. Join us October 23-25, 2018 at the BMO Centre in Calgary, Alberta.